"googling" -- I didn't know

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun May 27 14:28:57 UTC 2007

This would be unlikely to form a successful challenge of the Google
trademark. Prior use is permitted in trademarks--the standard is
distinctiveness in identifying the company or product, not originality.
(Originality helps in defending a trademark, as an original mark is more
likely to be distinctive, but it's not a requirement.)

If Larry and Sergey were attempting to trademark a line of cricket products,
it might be problematic, but for an internet search engine I don't see any

Prior to deciding on any product name, let alone a company name, extensive
searches are done on where, when, and how the terms in question have been
used. I'm sure the intellectual property lawyers considered the cricket and
comic strip uses before advising Larry and Sergey to go ahead with the

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Joel S. Berson
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 7:11 PM
Subject: "googling" -- I didn't know

Perhaps "google" and "googling" cannot be trademarked, due to prior use?

I attended a performance of Pinter's "No Man's Land" this week.  In
the first act, Spooner insinuates something about Hirst's wife
(exactly what Pinter intends is never clear) by asking if she was
good with legbreaks, offbreaks, and googling -- all references to
curving pitches in cricket.

google v. intr. Of the ball: to have a 'googly' break and swerve. Of
the bowler; to bowl a googly or googlies; also (trans.), to give a
googly break to (a ball). Hence "googler, a googly bowler.  1907-.

googly n. A ball which breaks from the off, though bowled with
apparent leg-break action.  1903-.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list